Sunday, November 23, 2008

From the Archive: "24: Redemption" TV Movie Review

Film Rating: B

Welcome to The Archive, a comprehensive collection of reviews dating back to 2007, originally written for The Denver Post’s YourHub.Com website and print edition!  In the archive, you’ll find hundreds of movie, DVD, Blu-Ray, and TV reviews, along with other special features.  You can access the complete Archive Collection by clicking here, and read about the archive project by clicking here. 

Continue reading after the jump to access my original review of “24: Redemption.”

From the Jonathan R. Lack Review Archives:
“24: Redemption”
Originally published November 23rd, 2008

Due to the writer’s strike, it’s been eighteen months since we’ve seen a new episode of 24, one of my favorite shows on TV.  Eighteen months is a long time to wait, and instead of coming back with a new episode, the producer’s have used their freakishly long gap between seasons to shoot a TV movie setting up events for Day 7.  While the film can’t stand on its own as a one-shot movie, it was the perfect piece of entertainment to get fans pumped for Season 7.

The title of the film, Redemption, is a bit odd, seeing as Jack doesn’t really have anything to redeem himself for (if anything, America needs to redeem itself for screwing Jack over time and time again).  In fact, I’d say that the title refers to the current state of the show.  Many fans flat out hated season six (I thought it was actually quite good, though easily the weakest season of the show thus far), and the show has to ‘redeem’ itself in the eyes of the fans, and show that it has the potential to reinvent itself in a new way.  That was my favorite part about the film; it took the show in a new direction while keeping certain ‘classic’ elements intact.  

The plot revolves around Jack Bauer protecting a group of children from a resistance group planning a coup within the fictional country of Sangala, Africa, while Allison Taylor is sworn in as President in D.C.  Early on, we learn that Jack Bauer has been dodging a subpoena to appear before a committee about possible illegal action committed as a member of CTU.  Jack has been traveling the world, avoiding the subpoena while trying to find a place where he belongs. 

This was my favorite element of the film—Day 6 ended with Jack back in America after spending two years being tortured in China.  Through the course of that day, he realized how little his country cared for someone like him—someone who would risk their life over and over to save people he’d never met.  At the end of Day 6, Jack stared out into the ocean, wondering where he would go next, and Redemption showed us that he truly had no idea where to go—he was lost.

Beyond the excellent character moments, Jack got a chance to kick some serious ass in classic Bauer style—which included shooting, stabbing, and neck-breaking via the leg.  He never shouted out “Dammit!” though, which was a bit disappointing.  The action in the film was very well done, though nothing extraordinary that you wouldn’t see in a standard episode.  Changing the scenery to Africa, however, was a stroke of genius.  Removing Jack Bauer from both CTU and America really gave the film a special flavor that you couldn’t get from an episode.  Africa served as a great location for the action; Jack’s never had to duck and dodge behind forestation before.

Apart from Jack’s storyline, with its half-happy/half-sad ending (that seems to happen to Jack a lot), the rest of the film was a set-up for Day 7.  Jack, of course, didn’t stop the military coup, so we can assume that will be a large plot point in Day 7.  Allison Taylor has just become president, her son is being targeted by Jon Voigt (whom I can tell is going to be a great villain in the upcoming season), and a mysterious organization is funding the Sangala coup.  The most frustrating thing about the film was that we have to wait until January to see where everything goes from here; usually, that wait is just a week.

This prequel movie won’t go down as a great event in 24 history, but it was fun movie that brought us back into the world of 24 after a long wait, a world that has changed.  Utilizing new locations and characters, Redemption was more than just a prequel.  It was a fun film in its own right (though it obviously couldn’t exist without season 7) that gave us a taste of what a real 24 movie might be like—a theatrical film would be incredible.  Still, this prequel lives up to its name; 24 has truly redeemed itself, and the new season is sure to be terrific.  January can’t come soon enough.

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